The Word Factory

Daily broadsides from The Baffler's just-in-time corps of knowledge workers

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJanuary 20, 2017
To cheer you up, a picture of National Women's Liberation, one of the organizations chronicled in Sarah Jaffe's new interview series. / Photo courtesy of Erin Mahoney.
To cheer you up, a picture of National Women's Liberation, one of the organizations chronicled in Sarah Jaffe's new interview series. / Photo courtesy of Erin Mahoney.

Today in presidential aesthetics: commentators weigh in on Trump’s selection of (two!) bibles for his swearing-in and an oil painting takes aim at Obama in a bizarre echo of Trump’s promise that “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer”—a fitting gift from the likes of Sean Hannity.

Interviews for Resistance: A Conversation with Erin Mahoney

Sarah JaffeJanuary 20, 2017
Sarah Jaffe talks with Erin Mahoney of National Womens' Liberation. / Photo courtesy of Erin Mahoney
Sarah Jaffe talks with Erin Mahoney of National Womens' Liberation. / Photo courtesy of Erin Mahoney

We are pleased to share a new, syndicated series of interviews by Sarah Jaffe. INTERVIEWS FOR RESISTANCE will introduce you to some of the key figures in the growing movement(s) against our reactionary new federal government. We hope you will find comfort in knowing the crucial work of fighting back has already begun in many (sometimes unexpected) places, and find tools in these conversations for your own part in the struggle.

Too Many, Too Many

Thomas MeaneyJanuary 20, 2017
Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny
Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny

The “European Project,” like the United States, is in need of a regime change. It will be vulnerable to populist condemnation and counteraction until it scraps the elite designs at its origin. In a time when pseudo-revolutions have brought pseudo-regime-change around the world—with Thailand, Ukraine, Egypt, among others, all recently experiencing “revolutions” that turned out to be replacements of one set of elites with another—it is worth thinking about the necessary ingredients for a better, different Europe.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJanuary 19, 2017
Washington, D.C., readies itself for inauguration. / Geoff Livingston
Washington, D.C., readies itself for inauguration. / Geoff Livingston

Betsy DeVos’s hearing was fraught with controversy and moments of complete idiocynot to mention a brief discussion about bears. The billionaire and education “philanthropist” proved to be incapable of answering basic policy questions, all the while demonstrating little-to-no knowledge of basic educational terms.

Interviews for Resistance: A Conversation with Legba Carrefour

Sarah JaffeJanuary 19, 2017
Artwork courtesy of DisruptJ20
Artwork courtesy of DisruptJ20

We are pleased to share a new, syndicated series of interviews by Sarah Jaffe. INTERVIEWS FOR RESISTANCE will introduce you to some of the key figures in the growing movement(s) against our reactionary new federal government. We hope you will find comfort in knowing the crucial work of fighting back has already begun in many (sometimes unexpected) places, and find tools in these conversations for your own part in the struggle.

When Uber Bares Its Hoard

Jathan SadowskiJanuary 18, 2017
Who's Uber for? / Adam Fagen
Who's Uber for? / Adam Fagen

Uber executives are not just giving over the data, as if it were a peace offering born of their largesse. The data is not just an olive branch; it is bait that lures cities into partnerships formed on Uber’s own terms.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJanuary 17, 2017
Message from your parents. / Denis Bocquet
Message from your parents. / Denis Bocquet

Amid mounting pressure on Obama to pardon whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden this week (update: Manning will be freed in May!) it’s worth revisiting Astra Taylor’s salvo on presidential pardons, and their shady, unofficial counterparts.

Pissologies

Sam KrissJanuary 17, 2017
/ Håkan Dahlström
/ Håkan Dahlström

Why didn’t Donald Trump just piss on the bed himself?

Everything else about the story makes sense; it doesn’t really matter whether it’s accurate or not. The rest of the allegations against Trump—that he’s a long-standing Russian asset, that his entire campaign was run from Moscow—are unscourced and could well have been made up.

Not Unwinnable

Rick PaulasJanuary 16, 2017
A Bernie could one day win. / Phil Roeder
A Bernie could one day win. / Phil Roeder

As a general rule, it’s wise to steer clear from analyzing memes that originate and evolve on the Twittersphere. Users wield the medium in different enough ways that Twitter is at best a fractured discourse, it moves too quickly to be relevant longer than a day, and the sanest among us have already left (some 8.7 percent of the American population use Twitter every day).

Obama Out

Niela OrrJanuary 13, 2017
2834357616_e8b58c2a4b_b
2834357616_e8b58c2a4b_b

This week, the country’s dominant mode of pop-cultural expression was the public speech—something of a throwback trend, given Americans’ patterns of media consumption nowadays. In the smartphone era, we tend not to gather around and listen to our leaders pontificate in the tradition of the FDR fireside chat; the internet and social media provide us with an inexhaustible array of platforms to do so on our own.

Interviews for Resistance: A Conversation with Kali Akuno

Sarah JaffeJanuary 12, 2017
Kali Akuno, co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a project advancing a solidarity economy in Jackson, Mississippi through a network of worker-owned coops. / Photo courtesy Kali Akuno/Cooperation Jackson
Kali Akuno, co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a project advancing a solidarity economy in Jackson, Mississippi through a network of worker-owned coops. / Photo courtesy Kali Akuno/Cooperation Jackson

We are pleased to share with you the first in a new, syndicated series of interviews by Sarah Jaffe. INTERVIEWS FOR RESISTANCE will introduce you to some of the key figures in the growing movement(s) against our reactionary new federal government.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJanuary 11, 2017
Just two friends. / DonkeyHotey
Just two friends. / DonkeyHotey

When it comes to election 2016, you could say, “when it rains, it pours.” And “pour” it did last night after BuzzFeed dropped a 35-page dossier on what kompromat (compromising material) the Russians allegedly have on Trump.